Mark Zuckerberg May Face Hate Speech Charges in Germany
'I think Facebook has changed German society—not for the good'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2016 4:58 PM CST
Two German lawyers filed a criminal complaint against Mark Zuckerberg for allowing hate speech on Facebook.   (Kay Nietfeld/dpa via AP)

(Newser) – A pair of German lawyers are hoping to squeeze a $163 million fine out of Mark Zuckerberg by claiming Facebook allows users to post anti-Semitic messages and other hate speech, Vice reports. "I think Facebook has changed German society—not for the good," attorney Chan-jo Jun says. It's against German law to incite hatred using Nazi symbolism, yet such symbolism occasionally finds its way onto Facebook. In Germany, only people—not companies—can be charged with a crime, which is why the lawyers are setting their sights on Zuckerberg, according to Fortune. As evidence for the criminal complaint they filed against Zuckerberg last month, they point to more than 300 Facebook posts and pages that include swastikas, threats against migrants, and more.

Zuckerberg addressed the issue at a meeting last month in Germany. "Hate speech has no place on Facebook and in our community," Vice quotes the CEO as saying. "Until recently in Germany, I don't think we were doing a good enough job, and I think we will continue needing to do a better and better job." Facebook has removed some of the posts cited by the lawyers but claims others—such as a user wondering why Obama isn't "sitting in a concentration camp"—don't violate its community standards. The attorneys already tried suing German Facebook executives, but prosecutors refused the case. They're currently also trying to get a European Facebook executive charged with being an accessory to inciting racial hatred. Vice notes that's unlikely to happen.